The relationship between popular drama and advertising has always been an interesting one (the term soap opera is derived from a time where soap manufacturers such as Procter and Gamble and Lever would sponsor daytime radio dramas). In the new Tesco advert featuring Martin Clunes and Fay Ripley, product placement is taken to its logical conclusion as the unfolding ‘drama’ is peppered with a massive and painfully obvious list of product placements – as this is an advertisement, we can laugh all knowingly. However, when advertisers start paying for product placements within established programmes, then something different starts to happen:
From Adbusters 76 (volume 16, number 2):
Advertisers spent almost $1 billion in 2005 in getting their goods displayed in television shows. That figure is expected to quadruple by 2010. In the first half of 2007 alone, an astonishing 110,296 products turned up in cable television’s top 20 shows according to Nielsen Media Research.
In a world where it’s becoming increasingly easier for viewers to block out TV adverts, advertisers have obviously got to find a way of getting their products in front of us difficult to please consumers – and what better way to do it than to pay for a series of product placements within your favourite programme?
A problem arises when the advertiser starts dictating the content of the programme that he wants that product placement in – witness the fetid old guff that was Perfect Stranger. That said, when something like the below comes along, I can forgive any advertiser just about anything...